Bettina Schrewe started her career in publishing as a bookseller in Germany. She then worked for eight years as the foreign rights director at Carl Hanser Verlag in Munich before moving to New York in 1995 to start Bettina Schrewe Literary Scouting. She is scouting for publishers in more than 20 countries internationally and has been a regular in Frankfurt for more than 30 years.

What books are you reading right now?

Over the summer, I read Fire Exit by Morgan Talty, a literary debut by a talented Native American writer that I found mesmerizing. I also loved Deesha Philyaw’s forthcoming novel The True Confessions of First Lady Freeman; her sense of humor is infectious. And I can’t wait to read Terry Hayes’s long-awaited new thriller The Year of the Locust, which currently is selling all around the world.

What’s one of your favorite books that most people don’t know?

The Wall by Marleen Haushofer, a classic feminist sci-fi novel about a woman who gets trapped inside an invisible bubble in the Alps. The book was published in Germany in the 1980s and never went out of print. It was recently reissued by New Directions in the U.S.

What’s a big book you read recently that surprised you in a good way? In a bad way?

I had never read James McBride and his latest novel The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store was a brilliant discovery. He effortlessly transports you into a completely unfamiliar world. His descriptions of a small town and its characters, a Depression-era community of African Americans and Jewish immigrants, are so rich in detail and compellingly described. However, McBride is a very verbose writer and sometimes I wished he would focus more. Nevertheless, this could be a prize contender.

What book (or books) made you want to be a literary scout?

The first book I read as a scout after moving to New York in 1995 was the partial for Angela’s Ashes. Frank McCourt’s voice and storytelling took my breath away. I laughed and cried and wanted the whole world to know about this extraordinary memoir.

What are some trends to watch out for in international literature?

We see more and more books from Korea, Japan, and Taiwan coming our way that are hitting a nerve with our clients and readers abroad. These are often quite imaginative, heartwarming, and inspirational stories, feel-good books that transport the
reader into a different world during a time of uncertainty on so many levels.

What are some trends in American literature your international book business friends and contacts are most excited about? What are some they’re tired of?

The trend to focus and publish books that will get a boost from TikTok continues to be popular, and we are reading more in this genre than ever. Many of our clients are now looking for romance, “romantasy”, fantasy, literary and upmarket horror, and genre-bending fiction. Funnily enough, we’ve seen several sports romances in the past months as well. But at the end of the day, we all would like to find the next Bonnie Garmus. Subjects that we have seen plenty of recently are post-pandemic novels, climate literature, and dystopia.

Who are the hot new agents and editors to watch at this year’s fair, both in the U.S. and abroad?

At the end of the day, we truly enjoy working with all the fantastic agencies in the U.S., older and newer ones, who constantly surprise us with exciting new submissions. We also love seeing submissions out of the U.K. as well as from all the international agencies around the world who brilliantly keep us in the loop. And the same goes for the editors. We work with many editors from Finland to Greece and everything in between, as well as in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America. They all have impeccable taste, not to mention their finger on the pulse.